Dieticians at a Midland hospital are encouraging nurses to use diets like Atkins to kick-start weight-loss in overweight patients.
The low-carbohydrate regime, based around eating mainly meat and dairy produce, has been criticised for being unhealthy.
These are also the types of foods which are usually regarded as being bad for the heart.
But Susan Price and Jill Johnson, based at University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, believe this fad diet could motivate patients to stick to a slimming programme.
After adjusting to their new eating plan, patients would then switch to a more balanced, healthier diet.
Both dieticians - who addressed last month's National Nurses Nutrition Group annual conference in Burton-on-Trent, Staffordshire - said studies had proved Atkins to be safe and success over a six-month period.